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04 May 2009 @ 08:19 pm
Doctor Who - Ten/Rose, Eight/Charley - Twist of Fate (PG, 4/20)  
Title: Twist of Fate (4/20)
Author: Liz/surrexi
Fandom/Pairings: Doctor Who (new series + Big Finish Audios) | Ten/Rose, Eight/Charley
Rating: PG
Spoilers/Timeline: New series: set after Voyage of the Damned; Big Finish Audios: set after The Girl Who Never Was
Word Count: 1269 (this chapter)
Summary: The Eighth Doctor unexpectedly lands in a parallel world and a blonde unlocks his front door; the Tenth Doctor answers a distress call and finds an old friend on a deserted beach. When an old enemy brings the four of them together, can they save the universe in time to sort out their own timelines?
Notes/Disclaimer: This fic would have been impossible without the encouragement and input of my invaluable beta, unbrokensky. I own nothing, everyone belongs to the BBC and/or Big Finish.

chapter one | chapter two | chapter three | chapter four | chapter five | chapter six | chapter seven | chapter eight | chapter nine | chapter ten | chapter eleven

The door opened, and Charley froze mid-pound. A skinny young man in a torn and battered tuxedo stared at her, stunned surprise showing plainly in his brown eyes. His hair was a shock of brown spiking in all directions. He looked like he’d just come from a war fought in formal clothing instead of armor or uniforms. “What?” he said in a dumbfounded voice.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Charley said, fumbling for words and praying that her voice didn’t break from the emotional blow of someone other than the Doctor appearing at that moment. “I was expecting someone else.”

Charley stood just outside the TARDIS door, staring at the skinny man who had opened it. He stared right back, still looking gobsmacked. “I am sorry,” Charley said again. She shifted awkwardly on her feet. She wished the man would do something other than stare. Slam the door in her face, invite her in and ask her who she was, tell her where the Doctor was… anything other than stare.

Suddenly, a huge smile spread across his face, his eyes twinkling with happiness. “Charley Pollard!” he exclaimed. Before Charley quite knew what was happening, she was lifted off her feet momentarily as he enveloped her in a bear hug that was surprisingly strong given the apparent stringiness of his arms.

“Oh… my,” she said, nonplussed.

“Sorry, sorry,” he said, setting her on her feet just inside the TARDIS door. “I just never expected… you left that note, and then of course there was the War…”

“What?” Charley interrupted. “How do you know about the note I left? I left that for the Doctor!”

“I am the Doctor,” he replied, his tone affronted.

“You most certainly are not.”

“I most certainly am,” he retorted in a fair mimic of Charley’s Edwardian cadence.

“No, no, you’re not. And this isn’t the right TARDIS, either, is it?” She gestured around the console room. “It’s like coral! Where’s the armchair? The only thing I recognize in here is the coat rack!”

The man claiming to be the Doctor nodded. “I love my coat rack. But really, I am the Doctor.” He took her hands in his. “Charley, it’s me, I promise. I’ve just… changed. Time Lords, we do that, we change. Instead of dying.”

Charley shook her head slowly. “No, this is some kind of dream, some kind of weird dream and when I wake up it will be time to sound the SOS so that the real Doctor will come and rescue me, or someone, and I can get back to him.”

“You’re Charlotte Pollard, Edwardian Adventuress. You wanted to see the world, so you agreed to meet a bloke in Singapore and stowed away on the R-101, but you met me instead.” His fingers tightened around hers when she tried to pull her hands away. “It almost tore the universe apart, but I saved your life and I wouldn’t take it back. Which is good, because you saved mine right back.” He smiled, a less manic one this time, and Charley could almost see her Doctor somewhere in this man’s eyes. “You were my best friend,” he finished. “Charley Pollard. The girl who never was.”

“Doctor?” she said, disbelieving. “It can’t be.”

“It is.” He tugged her the rest of the way inside and shut the door behind her, then pulled her up to the TARDIS console. “Like I said, Time Lords regenerate instead of dying. For a while, anyway. And after you and I parted ways, things obviously got really complicated back home, and I… well, I changed.” Charley watched his face and could almost see the shutters close behind his eyes. His entire face darkened for a moment before he forcibly brightened. “And then a while after that, I changed again, and some other stuff happened.” Charley stifled a chuckle at the way this Doctor babbled and gestured. Her Doctor had sometimes chattered nonsensically but this was on a whole new level. “So I was just traveling along in the Vortex and the TARDIS picked up the SOS you were sending out, which, by the way, very clever! I knew you were smart.”

Charley beamed in spite of herself. “I am clever, aren’t I?”

“One of the cleverest.” The Doctor clicked his tongue against his teeth. “I only take the best.”

Charley shook her head in wonder. “You’re really the Doctor?”

He nodded, his face serious.

“You’re so different. Not just how you look,” she said when he shrugged. “Your eyes… you never were this sad when I knew you.”

He seemed to close in on himself right in front of her eyes. “I’m fine,” he said. “I’ve just had Christmas, in London, with snow and everything. Well, sort of. But I’m fine, totally fine. I’m always fine.”

“Oh yes, I can see that,” Charley said. There was an awkward pause, and Charley sat down on the battered bench next to the console. “Doctor?” she said, and despite having almost finished processing the idea that this man who was so unlike her Doctor was still the Doctor, she was still somewhat surprised when he immediately turned.

“Yes, Charley?”

“Can you… well, can I…”

“Can we what?”

“Can you take me back? To him – you, I guess. Back then. When you were still him.”

He shook his head. “I don’t remember seeing you again until now. So it didn’t happen.”

“You’ve made things happen that weren’t supposed to happen before,” Charley ventured.

“Yes, and look where it got us.” His voice went surprisingly cold. “I’ve had quite enough of paradoxes lately. It worked out with you because you resolved your own paradox and because of Zagreus and the other universe, but Charley… some things can’t be fixed.”

He looked so cold and so damaged when he said it that Charley bit back any further protests. Then another thought occurred to her. Perhaps she would have to spend some time getting to know this new version, and of course it would never be the same. But if he was the Doctor, then he was, well, the Doctor. And the Doctor was her best friend. A best friend who was obviously in need of someone right now.

“Then I’ll come with you now.”

“No, you can’t.” He turned his back on her and walked to the other side of the console, where he began punching buttons and flicking switches.

“Why not?” Charley exclaimed, jumping to her feet. She was at the Doctor’s side in a few strides and tugged on the sleeve of his tattered tuxedo. “I did before. I was brilliant, you said so yourself.”

He smiled at her sadly. “You were brilliant. I told you, one of the best. But you can’t come with me anymore.” He shook his head and looked back down at the console, refusing to meet her gaze. “No one can.”


“What?” His head snapped back up.

“You heard me,” Charley said sternly. “I don’t know what’s happened to you since we were separated, but you can’t possibly think that the best thing for you to do is roam about the universe alone.” She put her hands on her hips. “If you’re anything like you used to be you’d go mad within a week. No one to have tea with, no one to explain complicated concepts to, no hand to hold.” She shook her head. “Poppycock.”

He stared at her for a moment then seemed to shake himself. He stalked around to the other side of the console. “It’s too dangerous. I ruin lives.” He met her gaze again, and there was anguish in his eyes that made her stop wondering bemusedly if he knew how ridiculously dramatic he sounded and start wondering what had happened to make him believe it was true. “I ruined yours. The girl who never was.”

Charley walked around the console until she was close enough to cup his cheek with her hand. “You saved my life, Doctor. Don’t think of it any other way.” She grinned then, dropped her hand from his face. “Come on, just like old times.”

“Well,” he said, drawing out the “l” sound in a way that nearly made Charley giggle, “maybe just one trip.”
Current Mood: calmcalm
wiggiemomsi: OMGwiggiemomsi on May 5th, 2009 02:51 am (UTC)
Way to go, Charley! That's what the Doctor needs, another feisty companion, until he gets his Rose back!

Sarlaniasarlania on May 5th, 2009 03:37 am (UTC)
Good on you Charley! Stop 10's moping and self pitying. XD
Chi: cepia doctorladychi on May 5th, 2009 03:50 am (UTC)
Way to go, Charley! Kick Ten's metaphorical butt!
(Deleted comment)
Liz: doctor who / billie happy specssurrexi on May 5th, 2009 06:45 am (UTC)
Thank you!

Incidentally, I notice you note in your icon keywords for that icon that you don't remember who made it. I did! You can credit either my personal journal (surrexi) or my icon journal (how_iconic).
Lily of Shalott: Charley stars (smkwriter08)lilyofshalott on May 5th, 2009 05:06 am (UTC)
“You heard me,” Charley said sternly. “I don’t know what’s happened to you since we were separated, but you can’t possibly think that the best thing for you to do is roam about the universe alone.” She put her hands on her hips. “If you’re anything like you used to be you’d go mad within a week. No one to have tea with, no one to explain complicated concepts to, no hand to hold.” She shook her head. “Poppycock.”

Oh, Charley. ^_^
Beka: DW: Discovery!autumnjoy on May 5th, 2009 06:14 am (UTC)
Ah, Charley. :D
I can so hear her voice in this, you got it exactly right!
wakadoodle on June 12th, 2009 06:22 am (UTC)
im hooked.